Is there another way to happiness? - By Demola Ogunfidodo - AMEBO ONLINE NEWSPAPER


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Is there another way to happiness? - By Demola Ogunfidodo

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 When we were young, our parents made sure the number one priority for us was our manners, education, followed closed by religion. We must learn how to be an upright person, respect our elders, respect our culture as well as others and work hard.  Education we were told is the only way to success, growing up in Nigeria in those days, without good education our life is incomplete.
 Another important part of our life was (and still is) religion. We were Christian, St Peter’s Anglican Church Itaakogun was our family Church in the 1970s and 1980s while still living in Ifẹ. The church was founded in 1905, my grandfather, Chief Biobaku Samuel Ogunfidodo was once Baba Ijọ. He was buried at the church yard in 1973 when he died.
In those days, religion and going to church was part of our life. We take so much pride in it, we used to put on our best clothes and shoes to attend Sunday services, the memory of those days will be with me till my last days.
 It does not matter what religion anyone were in those days, both Muslims, Christians and even traditional worshipers interact and respect each other’s faith. We all lived together and respect each other’s faith. Intermarriage was part of our culture, my step mother was a Muslim, she practiced her faith without restrictions. In Ile Ifẹ, an ancient traditional city, it was not strange to come across people of traditional beloved doing their own things. One god or the other is been worshiped in Ifẹ every day safe one day. Ile Ifẹ is the only Holy City in Africa, it has been in existence since the 5th BC, every Yoruba person traces their origin back to Ifẹ.
 After education, working and earning money is the next thing, this message was drilled into our brain almost in an inhumane way. My father used to tell me that having a good job or a being self employed is the way to happiness. I believed him. People took pride in what they do to earn their living.
  Our government, we were tutored to support and obeyed the law of the country. Government we were made to believe will provide an environment to aid productivity, protect us, educate us and provide all the infrastructures. What a lie, that has been an illusion in Nigeria.
 These are the basics principles of live, I do not want to go into much details, these are  few things I can remember now and I believe it is appropriate for this piece.
 Fast forward to this modern life, with all the world events, it makes me wonder if we were misled by our parents? Or is there something missing, could there be another way to happiness?
  Normally I play golf every Saturday with few friends, we have been playing regularly for the past two years. We are amateurs, but we enjoy the sport. We get the chance to exercise and interact with each other. We never allow anything to get in between us and our game, not even the bad weather. We have got used to each other, when one of us is away on holiday , we often miss the buddy. Anyway, yesterday was no exemption, but we were feeling lazy and decided instead of playing we will go to the practice range instead. We bought 100s of balls and watched each other hit the ball 10 ball at a time. Distance was not our target, we were more concerned about accuracy. Banter is part of our game, no matter how bad the comment is, it never seems to matter because it will not last more than few seconds.
Fola gave me a bad one yesterday, it hit me like a golf ball been played by Tiger Wood, I took it on the chin.
 There were others on the practice range at PlayGolf London Centre, it is family focused range. There are always many people there, some with their families. It is always fun to watch how others play, some are very good and we normally stop playing to watch and learn from them. Others are really bad, we sometimes walk over to them to teach them the basics.  
 During our practice yesterday, there was a gentleman and his young son practicing next to us. He was very good and want to train his son how to play. We acknowledged and exchanged pleasantries when  he arrived. After about an hour or so, he started giving us tips on club handling, we knew he is better than us, so we listened to him. He came over and we get on as if we have known each other before. He then instructed us to get our phones out and check out a particular website. It was his website. He said he is determined to build a million houses for people all over the world before he died. He said he sold his family home to fund his charity. Such a great man. He has managed to find his own source  of happiness.
  After few hours on the practice range, we decided we have had enough. Instead of heading home, we went to visit one of our friend who is celebrating his son’s birthday. Dayo Eluyemi, he is a good friend, one of our politicians from back home in Ifẹ. The future of Ifẹ and Nigerian politics in general belongs to the young politicians no matter how hard the old school politicians try to cling to power. Dayo we all know is on the right path.
 There wasn’t any agenda, we just pick a topic and debate it for as long as the wine fuelled minds can bear. One of the hot topic that came to the foray was the highly infectious Coronavirus a free gift form China to the rest of the world, a deadly one for that matter. Been from China everyone wish it is a fake virus, but sadly it is not. This is a really threat to world health.
 Whenever two or more Nigerian get together, it is almost normal that Nigerian politics will be discussed, we have never had it so bad in Nigeria. God knows where we go from here, President Buhari and his APC government doesn’t seem to be able to govern the country. The failed PDP government was known for their corruption, most of the shameless politicians that never possess any skill then jumped ship and became part of APC. Together, the have all failed. Corruption, insecurity, hardship and collapsing economy is the topic most Nigerians are worried about now. American’s President Trump has decided to stop some migrants from Nigeria from traveling to America. Who can blame the president. Perhaps, Nigerian leaders will use this as an opportunity to reflect and not react senselessly.
  However, despite all that is happening the country, our political leaders seem to be deaf to the cry of the people. PMB as our  president is known and his colleagues seem to live in different Nigeria from the rest.  Every sane person know they are actually living in a house that is on fire, sooner or later they will wake up from their slumber.
 Earlier in the week, I have read in the Times the death of a man that passed away in his house. He died after his welfare was stoped and he had no money to buy food. It was bailiffs that discovered his dead body in his flat, they broke down his door forced their way into the flat.  They went there to repossess his flat, the dead man has not been paying his rent. His welfare does not matter, he must pay his rent and if he cannot, he can be kicked out. Well the man has gone to rest now, no more worries about food nor accommodations.  Mr Erol was not the only one, I read more horror stories about people all over the country. People are struggling, but they have no where to go. Some cannot get good job, some are working and the wages is not enough for them. The great late Reggae singer Bob Marley once sang about “so much trouble in the world”. He was right, there are so much trouble all over the world. Could there be another way?
 I know Dayo Eluyemi and I have a score to settle, a serious issue for that matter, albeit in a more subtle way. I have written an article few months ago. Dayo want to ask me about it. As a writer, I am always happy to discuss and defend my articles, after almost an hours, we finally settle the score with a manly hug. He knows it is a matter of time, he will eventually attract my attention and I will write about him.
 Today is 15th year anniversary of my father’s death. I have written a personal tribute to my hero, my father and my mentor and shared it with my siblings, family, friends and other relatives. After one of my sons read the tribute he came over to give me a big hug, we held each other for few minutes and cried together. It was a moment of peace for me. Many people got back to me about the tribute. This made it more emotional.
 I have an elderly man as a friend and a mentor. He is European man, a very wealthy successful business man. He has so much love for Nigeria and Nigerian. He said people often ask him why he love Nigerians so much, he said he always respond that, that is what makes him happy.
 There must be more to life, hard work, good qualification, good job, religion, good government, living in advanced country, big massive houses, wealth, good health, playing golf or any other sport, happy marriage and even been born to wealth does not seem to guarantee happiness.
Faith in God , seem to be the answer.
There is more to life than we all know.
There is only one God.  
The only way to Happiness is faith in God.
Demola Ogunfidodos is an Ile Ife born prince based in London.

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